Hello! Vick here, writing to you from Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. We are winding down from having tons of fun last weekend, when several dozen visitors came to sing and make merry with us — it’s been a pleasure to overhear everyone practicing all the groovy new songs they learned. We’re looking forward to having yet more guests come to spend some time with us in just a few weeks; maybe you’ll be one of them?
This is the next installment in my series about the top five things I love about living in this wonderful community, reason number two:
2. I enjoy the highest quality of life, combined with the lowest cost of living, I’ve ever experienced.
So far, I have passed several important financial milestones while living at Dancing Rabbit: I became a homeowner for the first time, I achieved my highest dollar-per-hour to date, and, by working on a project with one of my friends/neighbors, I managed to accumulate more savings than ever before. A low cost of living, compared to the general North American, plays a big role in that.
I also get to do a lot more work that I enjoy. I have plenty of opportunities to write, interact with interesting people from all around the world, and best of all, my morning commute is no further than from my bed to my desk. (Speaking as someone who used to, at various times in my life, collect student loan debt, work 12+ hour shifts in 100+ degree kitchens, and schlep hundreds of pounds of roofing shingles in a plywood hod up a ladder beneath the blazing Texas sun, this is awesome!)
That said, I don’t want to give you the wrong impression; it seems to me that Dancing Rabbit isn’t an ideal place for folks who want to escape the money system, or who want to roll the dice with an untried business plan. Despite all the radical differences in the way we live our lives here, there are still dues and taxes to pay, along with all the other standard fiduciary responsibilities that come along with the contemporary social contract.
There are lots of folks who wouldn’t have been able to make it here without trust funds set up by their families, or Social Security/disability income of some kind, or years spent sandbagging savings and investments before making the move to make their dream of living in community a reality. Some odd-job employment is available here and there, but most folks can’t rely on that for a full-time monthly income, and there is still a daily grind of one kind or another for some of us. (That doesn’t mean you can’t make a living here; I simply want to point out that you might have to settle for doing some work online, like I do, or otherwise take up a line of work that isn’t exactly the first choice on your list of options.) In the time I’ve been here, if my recollection is accurate, I’ve had 21 different jobs at one time or another. At this point, I think I’ve found my niche, and I know you could too.
Quality of life depends on much more than how we make ends meet. We have structured things in our community so as to make amenities available to folks at an affordable rate. For example, our common house has two shower stalls, the use of which is included in our monthly fee to our village co-op. First and foremost, we are living more sustainably by sharing infrastructure (instead of each and every one of us building, maintaining and using our own private set-up), but it also means that a newcomer, particularly a young person in their late teens or early twenties, can spend their day knee-deep in a batch of cob stomping their hearts out, and still have access to a hot shower at the end of the day (although, this time of year, our natural swimming pond is twice as nice), without it costing them an arm and a leg. This principle extends to shared kitchen spaces, a vast array of commonly owned bicycles maintained by much-appreciated volunteers, a fleet of vehicles, and so much more.
Chances are that you’ve fantasized about living on a homestead in some remote, idyllic location. There would be little cabin, with a lush garden, a water feature glittering in the twilight, and some snow-capped mountains looming in the background. Ah… how nice that would be; but for most people, it can never be more than a fantasy. (And let’s be real; if we actually lived in a place like that, most of us would go stir-crazy and start crawling on the ceiling within a few months.) At Dancing Rabbit, I actually get to enjoy most of the elements of that fantasy in real life (we don’t have any snow-capped mountains in this part of the Midwest, but c’est la vie), AND I get to have affordable high-speed internet, I get to be surrounded by my friends and neighbors, I get to head in for a night on the town a few times a year, and I can have it all without reinventing the wheel, or going it entirely alone. I’ve known many a neighbor to come to our area with high hopes and high aspirations when it comes to the homesteader lifestyle, only to have it turn into a stressful, crazymaking, daily grind of chores they can barely keep up with. (It’s rewarding for them sometimes too, of course.) From my vantage point, by living at Dancing Rabbit, I get the best of both worlds.
If you’ve been craving a life surrounded by nature, and you’d like to live it without breaking the bank, my village might be the right place for you. We know how daunting it can be to make the leap from daydreaming about what the future could be to actually taking concrete steps to make it a reality. That’s why we open the door to visitors, to make that transition a little easier, and to give you a chance to scope things out before committing to anything irreversible. (By the way, unlike lots of communities, we don’t have a buy-in fee.) The best way to see what life is like here is to attend our two-week visitor program; your last chance for 2019 is coming up in October. If you can’t take that much time out of your schedule, no worries, because we also have a condensed, four-day version coming up at the tailend of this month. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. I look forward to meeting you someday soon.